Wednesday, May 12, 2021

May 11 -22, Crossing the Gulf of Mexico

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Sunrises and sunsets!

Bridge to bridge, Ft Myers to Boot Key Harbor 

Tuesday morning at 1st light, leaving our anchorage off of York Island which is just around a mangrove island from Ridge and Denise. Their home is the one between the 2 mangrove islands. Thank you again Ridge and Denise and really great seeing y’all! 

1st light on the channel towards the bridge leading us out into the Gulf. 

Leaving San Carlos Bay Area and into the Gulf. Water  and waves look nice!

Our timing could not have been better. We were setting up for a weather window to cross the Gulf to the Keys and the winds have been fierce (as you know from my whining) but here we are with 2-3 days if “predicted” low winds and low waves which are very favorable for us to make the crossing. 

And it sure is! Calm seas and beautiful blue green water. We did spot a large loggerhead turtle as we turned into Indian Key in the Ten Thousand Islands aka Everglades National Park, for the night. 

Sunset in the Ten Thousand Islands.  

Wednesday sunrise

Another beautiful day! Seas were minimal if at all.  We could not have planned it better. Thank you God!
We had blue green clear water the whole way in. 

Bruce is negotiating the passage under the 7 Mile Bridge for our 1st stop just off of Boot Key Harbor. 

Monday, May 10, 2021

May 10 , Pelican Bay at Cayo Costa then back to Pine Island

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Friday we traveled by dinghy a about 2.5 miles over to Cabbage Key for lunch.  It is “old Florida” charm and a sister restaurant to Tarpon Lodge over on Pine Island that we went to last week.  

We ate out on the patio but went in for an interior tour. There is a dining room, a pub room and the “dollar” room.  Our server told us that there is approximately $90,000 pinned up on the walls and ceilings. 

One must travel there by boat, there are cottages that can be rented and it is noted as a historic site.

These 2 photos taken from their website

29 boats in the Pelican Bay this afternoon and I’m sure there will be a few more come in. The winds had slowed down yesterday and I’m so glad we had a beach day because the winds shifted from the north and they were GUSTY 💨💨💨💨! 
Whitecaps in the protected anchorage. 

The winds did slow down for the night and early morning (only about 10-15s) but still windy. 
We traveled by dinghy about 5 miles over to Bokeelia on the north end of Pine Island and met up with Ridge and Denise at Captain Con's Fish House for lunch. We are enjoying going out to restaurants again though dining outside and this area of the Gulf coast has so many small keys (mangrove islands) that are accessible only by boat. 

We met up for dinner on Sea Dweller as Bryan grilled up a great dinner again.

Bryan sawing a large dog bone in half for the pups.

Sunset view of Summer Breeze

View of the anchorage with everyone’s anchor lights shining like stars. Summer Breeze is the low one on far left side. 

There is a small lagoon next to our anchorage so we dinghied in and discovered that there are several manatees there. They were quite playful and inquisitive about us. One came up to the dinghy and got close to the motor so we turned it off.

Taking Otis out for a little beach time.

Dinner and sunset on Sea Dweller. 
Happy Mothers Day! 
And happy birthday to Otis! He made it to 1! 
Well, true congratulations to Bryan and Mary for  making it to 1 year! 

He and Bella look sweet here but she won't let him get too playful with her still. She puts him in his place.
This photo worked because they knew there were some treats being handed out.

Monday May 10, time to head out. Sea Dweller is following us out of the anchorage.

Sea Dweller passing us up.

They are faster than us so they left us in their wake! They also had a longer trip to make back home, about 6 hours. We had less than 3 hours to get to the area close to Ridge and Denise again to provision and stage for our Gulf crossing over to the keys.

We got to an anchorage very close to their home about 1:00 and had plenty of time to provision. Thanks to them for letting us use their laundry so to not use up our fresh water supply and take us to the grocery store. 

Sunset at York Island anchorage.
Tomorrow, Tuesday May 11 we head south towards Marathon in the Keys. It will be a 2 day run for us and the winds have appeared to calm down enough for us to travel. Perfect timing!

Friday, May 7, 2021

May 5-7, Cayo Costa

Sunset on Tuesday, anchored at Pelican Bay behind Cayo Costa  

Wednesday, Bryan and Mary joined us on Sea Dweller at Cayo Costa.

 They are coming into Pelican Bay and looking for their special spot to drop the hook. 

They come by to visit on their tender. 

They have a ladder on Sea Dweller that Otis can use to board but we haven’t figured out to get him on or off Summer Breeze so we gather for our evening meals at their aft deck. 
And Bryan is the master chef on board. 

Wednesday sunset view 

We have been having chronic issues with our inverter (charges our batteries) and our back up inverter is not feeling trustworthy. So we bit the bullet and bought a new one while we were visiting Pine Island but we waited to have help from the pro captain for the install. 
We are hoping that this is the end of the inverter issues! 

After ER work, we are off to the beach. 

On Sea Dweller’s tender (dinghy) we can all fit and go further so off we go!  

After some play on the beach, we drove across the Boca Grande inlet to Gasparilla Island and drooled over the great homes and boats. 

Dogs were done for the evening. 

Well, Otis awoke and was full of energy again. 

Sunset and dinner on Sea Dwellers “back porch”. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

May 3 - 4

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We left the anchorage at Ding Darling mid morning and moving up the coast a bit past Sanibel and Captiva to Cayo Costa. We considered to anchor in the Captiva area so Ridge could easily come join us for a fishing trip but the winds were high and the water was rough. No go. Maybe on the way south. The water is getting clearer and prettier as we move north just a bit. 

We anchored at the Pelican Bay area on the north end of Cayo Costa which is just before the Boca Grande inlet at Charlotte Harbor. There is a state park there which we had access to with a 1 mile trail to the beach, so we went for nice HOT walk but were rewarded with a nice dip in the beautiful ocean! Luckily it was about 5 in the afternoon and all the tourists that are ferried in had just left so we had the beach to ourselves. Bella got really hot and needed a cool off too. 

Tuesday we decided to travel by dinghy 2.8 miles south to a cut in the mangroves that takes you through a winding water path and then a "not so sure" walking path to the beach. The tunnel is known as the The Tunnel of Love. 

It was bit strange dodging branches and roots in the dinghy and finally found what we thought was the area to get the foot path. 

We turned on our tracking on the chart plotter app on the phone in case we needed it to return. There is a small cut through the mangroves (not shown on chart) and then we walked to the beach. 

Quite a different day than yesterday. Water was way too rough to enter but still quite beautiful.

We found a nice shady spot (the only shady spot) to sit and have a snack and water break.

Rough water and windy

We had a lazy, relaxed afternoon on the boat and a great sunset.